Reflecting Refined Excellence
About the Owners FAQ New To Minis Horses for Sale
Our Horses: Stallions & Colts Mares & Fillies Geldings Foals
HOME Feeding Your Miniature Horse BACK

General Feeding Guidelines for Miniature Horses:

About $0.60 per day, on average, should keep the average miniature horse happy. Some individual horses may not require the amount of food outlined below - it may actually prove to be too much.

Feeding a miniature horse is very inexpensive, since they eat about 2 - 4 measuring cups of sweet feed a day until they are mature, at about three years of age. A 50# bag of top quality sweet feed is approximately $11.00 and that should last, at least, 50 days. The daily cost for sweet feed would, therefore, be about $0.22.

During periods of time where you have no pasture grazing available, you need to give a miniature horse 1 - 1.5 pounds of grass hay, morning and night. A bale of hay weighs about 50 pounds, at an average cost of $6.00 per bale. So, allow about $0.36 per day for the cost of grass hay.

One acre of pasture can sustain about 5 miniature horses, depending on the climate. You should always have a salt or salt/mineral block available in the pasture or stall with your horse. Plenty of fresh water must also always be available.

A horse also needs plenty of exercise to maintain a good body condition.

A horse that is too fat is just as bad as one that is too thin. Check the ribs by gently pressing you fingers into their sides. If you can't feel the ribs, slowly taper the grain and hay ration down. If the ribs are very easy to feel and are prominent, begin to slowly increase the amount of feed you give them. They should have a nice fat layer over their ribs. This test is especially important during the winter when they have a heavy winter coat. They may "look" fine on weight, but be sure to do the rib test to make certain you are feeding the correct amount for their body condition.

What Do We Feed Our Miniature Horses?

Since many of our horses live in the hill country with limited pasture available, most are fed good clean, mold free, grass hay twice daily. Our mature, over three years of age, miniature horses do not normally get grain of any kind, unless they are broodmares. Most do just fine with coastal hay, year-round. If an individual horse needs additional weight, etc., we also feed Purina sweet feeds, such as Equine Senior or Purina Race Ready, depending on the condition and needs of the individual horse. Keep in mind to make any changes to your miniature horses' diet slowly! Abrupt changes in diet can cause a variety of health problems like colic, founder and hyperlipemia.

Feeding Broodmares:

Our broodmares are brought up about 2-3 months, prior to foaling, and we gradually add grain to their diet. Their protein requirements go up during the last trimester and certainly are higher when they are feeding their nursing foal. Prior to foaling, they receive 1/2 pound of 14% sweet feed, both morning and evening. After the foal is on the ground, we gradually increase them to a maximum of 1 pound, morning and evening - only if needed. If your mare carries a lot of fat, she may get by fine on the 1/2 pound, twice a day.

Feeding Foals:

Miniature horse foals must receive their mother's first milk, called colostrum, in order to have antibodies. Don't assume that your foal has or will nurse on it's own.

Description of the Problem: Foals are born without any of their own circulating antibodies to protect them from respiratory diseases and other neonatal diseases. The foal must rely entirely on antibodies that it receives via the colostrum from its dam to protect it from disease for the first two months of life. Foals that do not receive colostrum need immediate veterinary care and are usually treated with a plasma transfusion to supply antibodies. It is critical that the attending veterinarian have an accurate and reliable test with which to measure the amount of antibody (IgG) present in the foal's blood between 12 and 24 hours of age. There is also a test available that can be used "foal-side" by the practitioner that provides rapid results. However, this test is relatively new and there have been numerous complaints from veterinarians about test variability. The gold-standard test, serial radial immunodiffusion (SRID), requires 24 hours to run and must be run in a laboratory. Because there is only one convenient test available for the measurement of IgG in the foal, it is crucial that the issues of accuracy and reliability are addressed immediately so that the test can be improved or a new test can be developed. Call your veterinarian.

After your mare foals:

Pull on the mare's nipples to make sure that she has colostrum to feed her foal. Check the foal for sucking reflex.

The foal may nuzzle the milk sac and even make loud, sucking noises, but still not drink sufficiently. Make sure the foal gets a good hold onto the nipple and stays there sucking for 30 seconds at a time - at least. Foals MUST drink the mare's first milk. This colostrum is the only way the babies get protection and immunities. Without proper intake, they may need a blood transfusion. The foal should begin nursing within two hours of birth. The sooner they begin to drink, the more absorption of antibodies they receive. After 12 hours, it may be too late. Your vet can do a simple blood test to see if the proper amount of absorption has taken place.

The closer to 300 days gestation the mare foals, the closer you need to watch the baby's ability to stand to drink milk. The foal may be weaker and unable to drink a sufficient amount of colostrum. The vet can tube-feed the foal with colostrum, if needed.

If the mare is too uncomfortable after foaling, ask your vet what type of medication and dosage she may need. Some mares that are uncomfortable will not stand still for the foal to nurse sufficiently.


Bookmark this site!

© 2002-2010 by   All rights reserved.

Note: Logo is original design and trademarked - Logo, &/or any part thereof, is not to be copied or used without our written permission.

Photo Credits   Site Map       
For questions or comments about this page
Last Updated 7/31/2010
Privacy Policy